What Is “Family Housing”?

Some housing activists use a very narrow definition for the term.

Sonja Trauss | September 5, 2018 | |

Spend time within local housing wars, and you’ll hear people decry the lack of “family housing.” This makes my skin crawl. What is a family? A Google image search shows two adults, a man and woman, and two children, a boy and girl.

Any family smaller or larger than this ideal is omitted when neighbors ask for such housing. Advocates don’t mean 3000-sqft, 6-bedroom homes for large families. Nor do they mean the many families that live in 1-bedroom units or smaller, who can’t afford more.

Advocates are therefore using very narrow definitions of family – too many people for one bedroom, not enough people for 4 bedrooms. Under this nuclear middle-class standard, you can have one or two children, and no extended family living with you. If you want to live with more people than this, and can afford space and privacy, your home is a monster that will destroy quality of life and the neighbors’ peace of mind. If you can’t afford a certain square footage for each person, meanwhile, then “family housing” advocates talk you right out of the picture.

The real definition of “family housing” is any place a family winds up living.

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